Catch some Rays with Andy Gilmore

Catch some Rays with Andy Gilmore

Andy Gilmore is known for his colourful, geometric work, often inspired by music. But he’s outdone himself with a new series of hypnotically beautiful works. He calls them ‘Rays’, for obvious reasons. And if you stare at them hard enough, you could almost swear they’re moving.


Wired San Francisco

Andy Gilmore has created this splash page for the current issue of Wired (28th March 2017), playing with the issue number itself.

Andy Gilmore has created this splash page for the current issue of Wired (28th March 2017), playing with the issue number itself.

As Wired Creative Director David Moretti said of the piece – “It’s a special thing to find an artist who will challenge his own practice and explore outside his comfort zone… That’s why we love Andy.”

David Moretti, Creative Director of Wired, San Francisco talks to us about past collaborations

David Moretti, Creative Director of Wired, San Francisco talks to us about past collaborations with the Andy Gilmore.

Read in full below…

Wired loves Andy Gilmore

The mission of Wired is to investigate science, technology and so-called digital culture. We use art to activate the process of understanding and help our readership—I would say our membership—to have an opinion and participate in the dialogue with our community about where we are going.

There are things that can be shown, that exist here and now. But because part of Wired’s legacy is to predict the future, there are others that need to be imagined.

Always between The Real and The Possible.

Andy’s unique talent is the ability to instinctually perceive that possibility and create a visual experience around it.

By the way, abstract art and science always worked together to open up entirely new ways of seeing and imagining.

When we look at abstract art, in fact, it requires more of our imagination. It leaves many details unspecified, and we have to supply those details.

The human brain has evolved over thousands of years, so it has built-in mechanisms that make very good guesses from incomplete information.

The brain has evolved to make these very, very great guesses based on minimum information, that turn out to be very effective.

And this is how we can represent the invisible, a theory, or simply the concept of a possible future.

Using an art metaphor, Wired is always in balance, visually speaking, between the scientific detail of a Vermeer painting and a Dan Flavin installation—which uses the same concept, but in a totally different experience.

We need to explain and see real things in detail but we also want to ignite our readers’ imagination, to visualize what is not yet real or is too “abstract” to have a form. 

Andy is one of our favorite collaborators. He reveals information in the abstract. He is a storyteller of the invisible and our collaboration started many years ago.

In 2009, Andy worked with Wired on a cover story about the Future of Business called “The New, New Economy – More Startups. Fewer Giants. Infinite Opportunity”. It was an essay by Chris Anderson, our former editor in chief, describing very well how the world was changing drastically headed to a future that was in potential.

Andy created our first cover based on a Venn diagram, an illustration of the relationships among elements that share something in common. And the overlapping intersection of those sets was the core of our investigation. The central, darkened area became an open door, an invitation to new information, or simply a warp jump into the future.

Recently we had an exclusive story about Magic Leap, one of the most audacious companies working on VR. Their research is based on using light to drive visual information to our eyes and cheat the brain to see digital things in the physical reality. It was natural to involve immediately Andy in this project. 

Magic Leap plays with light to alter lived reality. Andy used an exploded spectrum, playing with light in his own way, bending and shaping it into different optical forms, just as Magic Leap does. It’s what I like most about Andy’s style, that use of light and darkness. It’s a kaleidoscopic experience, a real light speed travel towards somewhere a threshold through which you could jump into a different space. 

We commissioned the splash page also as an opening door, this time to our entire feature well. Here, Andy worked with the issue number, but took something numerical and expanded it into a pathway to the abstract and unknown. It reminds me of the scene in A Space Odyssey in which David is experiencing time and space travel. Maybe for that reason it is my favorite work of his yet. 

Or maybe till our next issue. I wanted to challenge him into conceiving a different approach for our new splash page. This was a different kind of project for Andy as well, because it was not purely form and color, these forms needed to show specific numbers. It’s very hard for an artist with a successful style to dare. And it’s a special thing to find an artist who will challenge his own practice and explore outside his comfort zone. Andy took the number forms and transformed them into something that emphasized their shape. He didn’t abandon the light and color, but transformed them into idealized neon tubes, creating something pretty fresh. It has a material quality. 

This is why we love Andy.


Shown here is a selection of the visuals that Andy has created in the past for Wired. We’ll be showing Andy’s new Wired piece on 28th March, so until then…



Andy Gilmore creates a visual for the March issue of Tatler (issue 311).

Andy Gilmore creates a visual for the March issue of Tatler (Issue 311), to accompany their Tatler Beauty, ‘Time to… Find a fun pharmacy’ feature – edited by Francesca White.

A conversation between Rob Alderson and Andy Gilmore about his eclectic influences, from music to nature.

A conversation between Rob Alderson and Andy Gilmore about the relationship between art and music, as it shapes his work.

A conversation between Rob Alderson and Andy Gilmore about his eclectic influences, from music to nature.

RA.  You’ve talked about your work as answering questions that you have – what questions are those?

AG. When I have questions I am trying to find the answer to, it’s often not a question I could write down, it’s exploring a certain feeling. There are times when I feel that I am inclined to do something and I cannot necessarily understand why. I do my best to pursue whatever is there.

Also every time I make an image it poses new questions to me, a what if, giving me a new idea of where to take things. Essentially I have three creative outlets – my primary one was always drawing, my secondary one was playing instruments and listening to music, and then the third was when the computer came into my life.

I reached the point where I wasn’t interested in drawing people any more and things that expressed emotions, I was more interested in ideas.

RA. You mentioned your interest in music – how does that influence your work?

AG. Playing guitar was essential. I started to see that just as in geometry you have a certain grid, or unit of measurement that defines your form, an instrument has a system as well that has its base in proportions and its pitch relates to colour and frequency, so there were a lot of questions posed by that.

RA. And so were you trying to recreate the structures of music in your art?

AG. It was more intuitive than that. I would create something and when I looked at it a week later I couldn’t even figure out how I had created it. A lot of the time with both music and drawing you develop this muscle memory. There’s this unconscious part of you that can take over and you can almost be unaware of what you are doing while you are doing it.

It’s hard to explain. There are drawings I have done that I feel like if I had tried to do them, they wouldn’t have worked.

RA. Which must be both exhilarating and pretty disconcerting…

AG. It is definitely. It makes the process a little more overwhelming especially when you have the creative epiphanies and all these things converge, when your hand and your mind align.

RA. Where did your visual interest in geometry come from?

AG. At the time that it really started for me I didn’t feel compelled or inclined to make a digital representation of what I had been doing by hand. Geometry made sense to me because it was a way of controlling proportions. In many ways I looked at it as the equivalent of playing scales on an instrument. I always felt like it was essentially a way of refining my intuitive proportional aesthetic relationships.

My interests musically were very much rooted in 20th Century American experimental music and harmonic theories. There were a number of composers studying these harmonic systems and they used these grids to determine the harmonic ratios. I saw these grids and it was exactly what I was working on geometrically. I realised if I assigned values to each individual piece of this geometric form, then I could apply the same harmonic principles.

From that system, it becomes something else. It comes from a place that is very structured but the finished pieces are quite emotionally engaging.

RA. You also study the world around you quite closely – how does that feed into your creative process?

AG. There’s a book by Ben Shahn called The Shape of Content and I read that when I was about 19 or 20 and realised college wasn’t working out for me. He says to be an artist you have to be very observant of the world and the patterns in nature, so if you’re picking potatoes be very aware of the skin of the potato. I took that pretty seriously and I realised over time the more I paid attention, the more I was taking in information that was going into this subconscious pool.

When I felt inspired, it was there to come out in the process. The closer I looked at things or listened to things, the more I would see or hear. I realised I just had to look very closely.

There’s nothing arbitrary about the way a plant grows or the way seeds are distributed in an apple. They make numbers much more real to me. The world is rooted in numbers and there are a lot of recurring forms.

All of us started off as a single cell that became two cells and then four and eight and it keeps branching out. This process is as much rooted in my body and my mind as it is in all of us. There is this creative principle at the root of everything. In our material world you can lose sight of the fact that we are part of process that’s been going on for billions of years.

I really feel a lot of my work is rooted in the experience of being alive, but I feel really silly saying it.

RA. And you read a great deal too…

AG. Reading about science and maths informs my work a lot. I am very much a visual person obviously so whenever I am reading there is a visual that comes with it. I like being posed questions that conjure up an image and that’s how it is a lot of times with commissions. I know if it suits me because an image comes to mind almost instantly. I have always been a curious person and I pursue the things that intrigue me.

RA. Does it bother you that all these ideas go into your work but most people who see it won’t know that?

AG. I wouldn’t say I am too concerned really. It’s so interesting to me that people can see it in any number of ways and I don’t know that I have any agenda that I am trying to communicate in my work.

I am kind of disconnected from any sort of audience perception. I work alone and I don’t wind up talking about these things a lot. It’s like a private part of my life that is then shared publicly in this strange way.

New Scientist

Andy Gilmore creates visuals for the New Scientist and their ‘Entangled Universe’ feature.

Andy Gilmore creates visuals for the New Scientist and their ‘Entangled Universe’ feature.

Entangled universe: Could wormholes hold the cosmos together?
Weird connections through space-time might make reality real, giving us a promising new route to a theory of everything.

To read the article in full, see New Scientist


Reebok has unveiled a new ZPump Fusion collection inspired by the works of American designer and illustrator Andy Gilmore, featuring hypnotic designs with a kaleidoscopic effect.

Reebok has unveiled a new ZPump Fusion collection created by the American designer and illustrator Andy Gilmore, featuring hypnotic designs with a kaleidoscopic effect.

Leveraging Andy Gilmore’s famous geometric artwork, Reebok created a unique and vibrant line of footwear to help runners express their individuality. The seven different designs within the collection display a range of psychedelic colours pulled together with a web-like effect. The collection aspires to help all runners stand out when training without compromising performance or function with The Pump technology found in the original ZPump Fusion launched earlier this year.

Detail patterns are also shown below.

The Andy Gilmore collection will be available from this month. More information is available at Reebok


Samuel Valenti, founder of Ghostly, talks to us about Andy Gilmore.

This month we talk to Sam Valenti, founder of Ghostly, about visual artist Andy Gilmore

How long have you known Andy and how did you discover his work originally?

7 years, the internet. Probably through the artist PhilistineDSGN. 

Why do you feel he fits well with Ghostly?

Andy’s work has been deeply influential, and getting to know him and his process has been even more inspiring. The work doesn’t placate. 

His approach to colour and technology is as methodical as his hand-drawn work. There is a brilliant harmony to it, but he’s never done. There’s a hunger that is vast and wild. 

How many other artist prints do you sell editions of?

We offer work by Michael Cina, Sougwen, Matthew Shlian, Langdon Graves, Brandon Locher and a few others. 

Do you have a particular personal favourite piece of his work?

I have a skeleton drawing framed on my wall that we featured on our 10th anniversary shirt and called ‘falling forward’. I guess I have a fascination with the ‘living skeleton’ that traces back to Powell Peralta skateboards in the ’80s. This one makes me think of endurance and hope, and Andy’s work has a majestic personal nature that feels like the whole world exists in them. 

How long has Ghostly been going and what is the ethos behind it?

We’re 16 years old and we’ve worked to create a place for artists to explore and create in a genre and medium-agnostic environment. 

What’s next for Ghostly?

More exploration and opportunities to connect art and ideas to everyday life and vice versa. 

To view Andy’s prints see ghostly and www.ghostly.com